Sūra Sād (Arabic: سوره ص) is the thirty eighth sura of the Qur'an. It is a Makki sura in the twenty third juz'. The appellation of the sura as "Sad" is because of the occurrence of the disjointed letter, "sad", at the opening of the sura. Themes of the sura include the call to monotheism and sincerity by the Prophet (s), the obstinacy of polytheists against the truth, stories of some prophets, and what becomes of pious people and wrong-doers after the resurrection.
The occasion of the revelation of the sura (its first verses, indeed) was a conversation between unbelievers and the Prophet (s). The sura has a reference to a conversation between God and Iblis and the curse and outcast of Iblis as well. An effect of the recitation of this sura is said to be one's protection against minor and major sins.
- Place and Order of Revelation
Sura Sad is a Makki Sura. In the order of revelation, it was the thirty eighth sura revealed to the Prophet (s). In the current order of compilation, it is also the thirty eighth sura, located in the juz' twenty three of the Qur'an.
- Number of Verses and Other Features
Sura Sad has eighty eight verses, 735 words, and 3061 letters. With regard to its length, it counts as one of the Mathani Suras of the Qur'an, approximately equaling to one hizb. Sura Sad is the twentieth sura that begins with disjointed letters (al-huruf al-muqatta'a). The verse twenty four of the sura involves a recommended sajda (that is, upon reciting or hearing the verse, it is recommended to prostrate). Sura Sad is said to be a supplement for Qur'an 37 because the structure of the former is very similar to that of the latter.
The content of the sura can be summarized in five sections:
- Monotheism and the prophethood of the Prophet (s) and the obstinacy of polytheists against him,
- The necessity of reflection upon the Qur'an, and comments made by polytheists about the Qur'an,
- Reference to stories of nine prophets, particularly David (a), Solomon (a), and Job (a),
- The condition of pious people and wrong-doers or unbelievers after the resurrection, and disputes among dwellers of the Hell,
- The creation of the human being, his great status, and the prostration of angels to Adam (a),
- The story of Satan and Adam (a), and Satan's oath to deceive human beings,
- Warning obstinate enemies and consoling the Prophet (s).
Occasion of the Revelation of the First Verses
Imam al-Baqir (a) is quoted as saying that Abu Jahl and a number of people from Quraysh went to Abu Talib, the Prophet's uncle, and told him that the son of his brother had caused troubles for them and their gods. They asked Abu Talib to tell the Prophet (s) to leave their idols alone so that they do not curse the Prophet's God. Abu Talib summoned the Prophet (s) to his house in the presence of those people and told him about their request. The Prophet (s) replied: "can those unbelievers agree with me on a statement, in virtue of which they can surpass and govern all Arabs?" Abu Jahl said, "yes, we agree. What statement do you have in mind?" The Prophet said, "say there is no god except God." When people in Abu Talib's house heard the statement, they were so horrified that they put their fingers in their ears and quickly left the house, saying "we have never seen such a thing; this is false." It was at this occasion that the first verses of "Sura Sad" were revealed.
Historical Stories and Narrations
Stories of Prophets
- Previous prophets were accused of telling lies by their people, such as people of Noah, Ad, Lot, companions of the thicket (Ashab al-Ayka), the Pharaoh, and their punishments. (Verses 12-16)
- The story of David (a): numerous facilities at the disposal of David (a), mountains and birds exalting God together with him, his stable kingdom, two claimants asking David (a) to adjudicate their case where David (a) listened only to one partly of the dispute, David (a) asking God for forgiveness, David's succession of God on the Earth. (Verses 17-27)
- The story of Solomon (a): offering noble horses to Solomon (a), Solomon's occupation with the horses and his forgetfulness of his prayer and his command of the return of the sun, the fall of a corpse on Solomon's throne, Solomon's repentance and request for forgiveness, praying for a unique kingdom, his manipulation of winds and satans (jins), the satans working for Solomon (a) as builders and divers. (Verses 30-40)
- Job (a): sufferings undergone by Job (a), striking the ground with his feet as a result of which a water spring emerged, his children and property being returned to him, striking his wife with a bunch of grass one hundred times, and not breaking his oath. (Verses 41-44)
- Mention of God's sincere servants: Abraham (a), Isaac (a), Jacob (a), Ishmael (a), Elisha (a), and Dhu l-Kifl. (Verses 45-48)
The Creation of Adam and God's conversation with Iblis
- The creation of Adam (a): verses 71 through 74 of the sura narrate the conversation between God and angels about the creation of Adam (a), the command of angels to prostrate for Adam (a), and the disobedience of Iblis.
- Iblis's reason for disobedience: in the following verses (75 to 76), God asks Satan about his reason for not prostrating to Adam (a), and in response, he cites his superiority in creation over Adam (a), because he was created from fire and Adam (a) was created from clay. In his interpretation of the phrase, "prostrating to that which I created with My [two] hands," Allama Tabataba'i believes that the phrase is intended to imply a nobility and dignity for Adam (a), because God had created everything else for other things, but He created the human being for Himself. And the word, "hands," appears in the dual form, although it was grammatically permissible to cite it in the singular form as well, in order to imply that God was excessively concerned with the creation of Adam (a), just as we use both hands in actions with which we are very concerned. Thus, "created with my hands" is like the other verse, "what Our hands have made." According to Tabataba'i, Satan did not obey God because he rejected God's absolute ownership of everything. Thus, he thought that it was wrong to prostrate to Adam (a), which is the root of all sins.
- The curse and outcast of Satan until the known date: God then cursed Iblis. He asked God to give him a time until the Day of Resurrection. In response, God gave him a time until the known date, rather than the Day of Resurrection. According to Allama Tabata'i, "the known date" is until the day when human beings follow Satan, which is one day before the Day of Resurrection.
- Iblis's oath to deceive human beings and the promise of the Hell for him and his followers: Iblis took an oath to God's might that he was going to mislead people, except God's chosen servants. The "chosen" is said to refer to those whom God has exclusively purified for himself, and to whom no one else, even Satan, has way. In response, God promises the Hell to Iblis and his followers.
Verse Twenty Six
|— Qur'an 38:26|
The verse twenty six of the sura is evidence for the greatness of the position of judgeship, because it is part of the general rule of prophets over people, and if the position is given to an incompetent person, there will be a huge deal of corruption and injustice in the society, which will ultimately undermine the government. The prophet David's judgeship is taken to be an aspect of his position as God's successor on the Earth.
Verse Twenty Nine
|— Qur'an, 38:29|
The characterization of the Qur'an with the verb, "we sent it down," in the verse is said to imply the instant revelation of the Qur'an, which fits well with reflection and remembrance. Allama Tabataba'i interprets the verse as follows: the book we have sent down to you has may blessings for laypeople as well as elites so that people can reflect upon it and be led to the right path, or at least, they receive the ultimatum. Moreover, wise people can be reminded of God's evidence and be led to the truth.
Merits and Benefits
According to a hadith, the reward for the recitation of Sura Sad is ten times greater than the weight of mountains the control of which was given by God to the Prophet David (a), and God protects people who recite the sura from minor and major sins. According to another hadith, the reward for the recitation of the sura on the night before Friday equals the rewards of prophets and angels, and the reciter of this sura will enter the Heaven.
|For the full text, see text:Sura Sad.|
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